Absolutely loving it! We’ve exceeded expectation a bit, we are enjoying each other’s company and the training environment we’re in. It’s brilliant.
Describe Rotherham as a club?
It’s a close-knit, family-type club where players enjoy a drink with the fans. No half measures, you’re either in or you’re not.
Fans say it’s the best rugby in years?
We’re up there in the attacking stakes and are getting wins and bonus points. We play an attractive brand and if the fans enjoy it, great.
Lee Blackett impressing as head coach?
He puts in a hell of a lot of work, along with Ed Williamson, and is putting the onus on the players to play what’s in front of them. It’s heads-up rugby.
Will Lee coach at the top one day?
Absolutely. He won’t be looking past the next match with Rotherham but he’s doing well and the players enjoy playing under him.
Where did you start out in rugby?
My brother, Fergus, and I started out in the minis at Wilmslow RFC before we both joined Macclesfield and then went to Rotherham.
Keep in touch with Fergus now he’s at London Irish?
Yes. I speak to him on the phone regularly and drop him a few messages. He’s doing very well for Irish after getting his break at Rotherham.
Rotherham seems to be a good breeding ground?
It’s one of the best in the country. If you look over the last two or three years, I think 14 players have gone into the Premiership or Pro12.
Ready for a crack at the Premiership yourself?
At the moment I’ve just got my sights set on Rotherham for the rest of the season but, of course, the ambition is to play as high as I can.
Always been a No.9?
No, I was a hooker until 13, when my schoolmaster decided to put me at scrum-half. I wasn’t happy at the time but I should probably buy him a drink!
Players you admired growing up?
My first big player was Keith Wood, being a hooker. Later came Richie McCaw and Martin Johnson, and scrum-half-wise Justin Marshall and Byron Kelleher.
Play any other sports as a kid?
I enjoyed football and still like it. I follow Man Utd and go to games when I can.
If not rugby, what would you be doing?
I did a degree in business management and economics but I can’t see myself sitting in an office. I’d like to be involved in sport somehow.
How do you chill-out?
Me and our hooker, Tom Cruse, are taking guitar lessons. Our flanker, Ali Birch, is doing piano as well. It’s very relaxing and we might form a band.
Any other interests?
I coach Sheffield Hallam University with Lee Blackett and a few other lads. We train on Monday nights with games on Wednesdays and it’s good fun.
I travelled after finishing school and really enjoyed New Zealand and Thailand. I’d like to visit Las Vegas and South America. Rugby-wise, I always look forward to Jersey. I’ve been there with Macc and Roth and we’re there in a few weeks.
Can you cook?
Yes. Marshall Gadd and I share a flat and take turns. My signature dishes are lemon chicken and Thai curry… I’m not bad at those.
If you could invite three dinner guests?
Jessica Ennis, as she trains next to us at the EIS in Sheffield; Richard Osman, from Pointless, who is a clever man; and Spencer Matthews, from Made in Chelsea, who seems like a bit of a hero.
Best and worst banter at Roth?
Jack Preece is worst. He’s from Gloucester and you can’t understand a word he says. Josh Brown is good value, but I’d give Alex Rieder top marks… he has an alter ego and turns South African when he’s had a few!
Hopes for rest of season?
To maintain the standard we have set – if we do that we’ll be there or thereabouts.
Comments are closed on this article.